bakingcraftingthinking

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The hills are alive with the sound of…bells!

on July 28, 2009

The Austrian hills may be alive with the sound of music, but ours aren’t. At least, not quite. Swiss hills have their very own sound. We’ll discount the sounds of cars, light aircraft, and farm vehicles for now, and just focus on the one that is special.

Bells.

When we first moved here, we were dismayed to find that the bells of the tiny chapel about 200 m away ring not only at noon and half seven in the evening, but also at 5.30 a.m. Yes, five-thirty. We’re still not sure why. Switzerland is certainly not the type of country where you would expect farmers to be unable to afford their own alarm clock. Nonetheless, the bells do ring at this unearthly hour, and one does eventually learn to sleep through them. Even with the window open. Visiting relatives, of course, are not so fortunate!

A more seasonal, and therefore more trying, sound is that of… more bells. Cowbells this time. Our apartment used to be pretty much surrounded by fields, although now many of the closer ones have been built on, and there is still one little one just beneath our bedroom windows. Every autumn the cows are brought down from the mountains and end up, at some point, just there by the front door for a couple of weeks. Sometimes they’re there in spring on their way up to the mountain, too. And it transpires that cows do not take their bells off to sleep. (I suppose they get used to them like we did to the church ones) So for a few weeks every six months, the night is broken by the gentle sound of cows doing whatever it is they do in the middle of the night, clanging quietly the while.

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